Sunday, March 30, 2014

Northern Degradation of the Free Negro


Despite a fanatical urge to free the black man from the slavery inherited from the British colonial system, the abolitionists either did not want the free black in the North, or treated them with disdain if they lived among them.    Author J.C. Myers wrote in 1849 that the fanatic New England abolitionists were so perfectly mad on the subject of slavery that their whole soul was filled with burning gall, and they were ever seeking an opportunity to "spit . . . venom on the South, for the purpose of withering down her institutions, even at the very hazard of shivering into fragments, our glorious Union."

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission

"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"

"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Northern Degradation of the Free Negro

"All the social advantages, all the respectable employments, all the honors, and even the pleasures of life are denied free Negroes of the North, by pious Abolitionists full of sympathy for the downtrodden African," Parson Brownlow told his Philadelphia audience in 1858.

Daniel R. Hunley . . . [heard] Henry Ward Beecher describe the condition of free Negroes more graphically and authoritatively than any Southerner could have done: "They are refused the common rights of citizenship which the [Northern] whites enjoy . . . They are snuffed at even in the House of God, or tolerated with ill-disguised disgust . . . We heap upon them moral obloquy more atrocious than that which the master heaps upon the slave."

In 1828 a Southern visitor to New York was served "by an intelligent young man of colour" who indicated that he was seriously considering returning South to his master who had taken him and his wife North to manumit them.   He had rejected the idea of going to Liberia, because the reports from there were that it was "the most miserable place in the world. I had rather remain here."

When the white man then pointed out that if he returned South he could not know into whose hands he might fall in the event of his master's death, he replied that he would prefer to take that chance than to remain where he was.

When a former slave went to Cincinnati to live, his difficulties were numerous; and when there were no work opportunities, he was accused of stealing. In his plea of guilty, he made a statement that . . . "Since I came here," he said, "I have been kicked about and abused by all classes of white men; can't get work from no one; and to borrow money . . . that is out of the question."

He concluded by saying that as soon as he served his time on the chain gang he would return South and become a slave."

(A Southern Odyssey, Travelers in the Antebellum North, John Hope Franklin, LSU Press, 1976, pp. 151-152)